Majority of Hong Kong Employers Offer Higher Salaries to Retain Staff

Hong Kong's recruitment market is expected to remain stable as 59% of employers plan to hire in the coming three months, according to the jobsDB Q1 2013 Hiring Index.


Sixty-nine percent of employers reported they have staff leaving in the past three months and 82% of them retain leaving staff by offering higher salaries. In view of the outbreak of H7N9 flu in China, 35% have set up a contingency plan.


jobsDB Q1 2013 Hiring Index is based on an online survey conducted in May 2013 to gather information on hiring intentions, employee turnover and precautions against infectious diseases. A total of 130 companies participated in the survey.


More than Half of Employers Intend to Hire
The Hiring Index reveals that 59% of Hong Kong employers intend to hire staff in the coming three months, down 4% from Q4 2012. Only 2% plan to cut headcount.


"The decline in hiring intentions shows that employers are adopting a cautious recruitment strategy as a result of the weak economic recovery in Europe and the US," comments Justin Yiu, General Manager of jobsDB Hong Kong. "Despite the sluggish external economy, we can see the recruitment market in Hong Kong remained steady in the past three months."


Yiu notes that the career market in general is supported by vacancies generated from employee turnover after bonus payout and sustained strong labour demand for certain industries such as retail, and food and beverage. In May, the number of vacancies posted on jobsDB has shown a marked growth, reflecting the demand for talent is still high.


Employers offer higher salaries to retain staff
In this survey, 69% of respondents said they have staff leaving between February and April this year and the average turnover rate is 8.6%. Among those who tried to retain staff, 82% of them take "increasing salary" as a retention measure, followed by "providing training/career development opportunities" (44%) and "providing better work arrangement" (40%).


"The peak season of the recruitment market comes after bonus payout every year," notes Yiu. Yiu says that When good employees resign, employers would try to retain them.


"Our survey shows that offering higher salaries is cited by employers as the most common and effective measure for staff retention. This implies that salary is one of the top concerns of employees. I think many people are actively seeking better paid jobs because they are not satisfied with the pay rise this year and some believe their professions are in demand. Hence, employers should understand employees' concerns about their compensation packages if they resign due to salary issues."


Preparing for infectious disease outbreaks
In response to the outbreak of H7N9 flu in China, 38% of employers have taken preventive measures such as providing face masks and disinfectant hand soap for staff in need.


Among the respondents who require their staff to travel to the H7N9-affected area, 33% reduce the number of trips to the affected areas. To prepare for an outbreak of infectious disease in Hong Kong, 35% have set up a contingency plan.


Contingency measures include "reduce trips and meetings" (61%), "work from home" (52%) and "separate staff to work from different offices" (36%).


The SARS outbreak in 2003 has increased employers' awareness of infectious disease precautions, according to Yiu.


"Our survey reveals that only 3% of employers have a contingency plan in place before SARS. It is worth noting that a much higher proportion of employers -- 32% -- set up such plan during or after SARS. As the potential threats of H7N9 and novel coronavirus are still uncertain, I would recommend employers to set up contingency plans as early as possible. This helps create a safer work environment and minimize the effects on business operations during an epidemic."


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